Saturday, July 12, 2008

Homestead Rental FAQ

UPDATE (2010.12.18): The information here is largely out of date. Please see our new Homestead and Full Sim Rental FAQ.

Here are answers to questions I frequently get from current and prospective homestead tenants. Some of my answers apply to any homestead sim rental anywhere in Second Life, while others apply only to those in Desperation Isle Estates.

How much does it cost to rent a homestead sim?
If you rent from Desperation Isle Estates, the cost is L$7750($30 USD) a week, or L$31000 ($118 USD) a month. This gets you a complete 65,536 square-meter homestead island with 3,750 available prims and protected open ocean views on all sides. We do not charge any "purchase price" other than the first week's rent. If you want us to order a new island for you, we typically ask for two weeks' worth of rent up-front, but nothing more unless you have naming requirements.

We also offer discounts to residents with two or more islands:
  • Two islands: Each island L$7500 ($29 USD), 4 weeks L$30000 ($115 USD).
  • Three or more islands: Each island L$7250 ($28 USD), 4 weeks L$29000 ($111 USD).
Are these the same as "openspace" sims?
No, Desperation Isle Estates offers only true 3,750-prim Homestead sims and regular 15,000-prim sims for rental. As of 2009, the term "Openspace" refers to regions that support only 750 prims and 10 avatars. We do NOT have any 750-prim Openspace sims. Homestead regions are limited to a maximum of 20 avatars on the island at the same time.

How are homestead sims different from regular sims?
Homestead regions support only 1/4 the number of prims as full sims, and can support a maximum of 20 avatars simultaneously on the island, whereas full regions can have up to 100. A hidden difference is that homestead regions share their physical servers with more sims than regular sims do. There are only 4 regular sims on a given physical server, whereas there may be up to 16 homesteads on the same server.

Can I get more prims?
A homestead region has a hard limit of 3,750 prims, just as a full-sized sim has a hard limit of 15,000. While you can have additional islands, prims do not combine between islands. If you had two homestead sims, each one would have a max 3,750 prims. This is a technical limitation of Second Life.

Can I choose the name of my island?
I like to have uniform names so that people can easily identify my properties, but if you would like to select a unique name for an island we can do that for a fee. If we're talking about a brand new island, it's a non-refundable L$13,750 fee, and I will order the island with the name you requested. If it is an existing island that you are already renting, the fee is L$27,500. The reason for the fee is it costs $50 USD to change the name of an island, and I will need to rename the island in the future if you ever move out. The fee for existing islands is double because I'll have to pay $50 to give the island your name, and then $50 later on to return to the old name. I do not make any profit at all from these fees.

The name you use must follow Linden Lab's guidelines for private region naming:
Private Region or Estate names:
  • Must be more than 3, but less than 25 characters (spaces count)
  • Must contain three words or less
  • Must use only alphanumeric characters (no punctuation)
  • Must not be the name of a real life city (however, "New York Island" or "Los Angeles City" are fine)
  • Cannot include SL, Linden, Linden Lab, Second Life etc in the name
  • Must be PG
    Offensiveness guidelines: You may not select as your Private Region name or Estate name:
    • The name of another person to the extent that could cause deception or confusion
    • A name which violates any trademark right, copyright, or other proprietary right
    • A name which may mislead other users to believe you to be an employee of Linden Lab
    • A name which Linden Lab deems in its discretion to be vulgar or otherwise offensive (obscenities in any language or any form of spelling, racist, sexist or otherwise derogatory in nature)
Must not already be in use

Linden Lab reserves the right to change any Private Region or Estate name for any reason or no reason.

Can I get a different default shape for my island?
While you will have full terraforming abilities on your homestead island, I can upload a different default terrain for you at your request, for no extra cost. Please see the Available Island Designs section of this announcement for our current selection. Also, if you create or buy your own RAW file, you can email it to me, and I will upload it for you.

I thought that the terraforming limits were +/-100 meters, but I can't sink the ground more than 20 meters below sea level.
The +/- limitation really means that you can terraform up to 100 meters above or below the contours of the default terrain, with the limitation that you can never go below an elevation of zero. If you want to make a really deep hole, you should terraform your land very high and then use the region tools to set a higher sea level, giving you more underwater area to work with. The default sea level for any new sim is 20m.

Can I get another island connected to my existing one?
Yes, we can order additional islands for you and connect them to your existing island. So long as the new island is directly north, south, east, or west of your current island, you will be able to both see and cross the border into the other island. Keep in mind that you will not be able to combine prim allotments, and that each island will have its own estate settings. There is no extra fee for having an additional island, other than the rent. Each island costs L$7,200/week to rent.

Can I "back up" my existing terrain in case I make changes I'm not happy with?
Yes, if you've done a lot of work on your island design, I can "bake" the terrain so that if you make future modifications you can use the "revert" tool to go back to the version I stored for you. Just IM me and/or send me a notecard. If you want a copy of your backed-up terrain, I will need to have your email address so I can send it to you. (It's a file format that Second Life does not support.)

Is it possible to add more people as Estate Managers on my island?
Yes, I always grant the primary renter Estate Manager privileges, but I can add anyone else to the managers list for your island.

Is there anything that an estate manager can't do that an island owner can?
Yes, there are a few things that only the person who actually pays the monthly island use fee to Linden Lab can do. Only the island owner (the person listed as owner on the Covenant tab of World > About Land) can do the following:
  • Set up and manage a telehub.
  • Download RAW terrain files.
  • Upload RAW terrain files.
  • Bake the terrain. (This sets the baseline for the Revert feature of the terraforming tools.)
  • Add/Remove other estate managers.
  • Deed parcels to a group even when "Allow Land Resell" is disabled on an island. (Note: Estate managers can toggle the Allow Land Resell flag on an island to temporarily enable the ability for parcel deeding.)
I noticed a name I don't recognize on my estate's "Banned Residents" list. Why is that?
If a resident griefs any of my private or public sims, I ban that individual from all of my islands in one single action. If this individual is a friend of yours, you have the ability to remove them from the ban list on your island. But if they're not, you probably don't want them on your island anyway.

I noticed a name I don't recognize on my Estate Managers list. Who is that?
It might be my business alt or one of my partners. Illana Ireton is my business alt. Vivienne Schell is my business partner, and Kelly Walcott is my SL partner, who also helps out on the estate. If you see any other names you don't recognize, please alert me.

If I get more than one homestead sim from you, will they run on the same server?
There is no way to predict what physical server your homestead sim will run on. The way Linden Lab has it set up is this: Sims run on physical servers that each have 4 processors. Four full sims run on a single server, one processor per sim. With homesteads, 16 homesteads run on one server, one processor per four sims. (This is why homesteads are considered "light use.") Every time a sim restarts, it has a chance of coming back up on a totally different physical server. This architecture allows Linden Lab to have a more dynamic infrastructure that makes efficient use of their available hardware. It also has the added benefit of helping a sim owner fix some lag issues, because if your sim is sharing a server with some very laggy other sims, you can restart your sim and have a good chance of landing on another server with better neighbors. Another thing to consider is that Linden Lab runs several different "colocation facilities." Not all sims are located in the same geographic region. Some are in California, some are in Texas, etc. Most new homestead sims are at the same colocation facility, which is good, because being in the same facility makes border crossings smoother.

How do homestead sims perform, compared to full sims?
New homestead sims generally perform rather well for typical residential use. The one area where you tend to notice a difference between a homestead and a full sim is script performance. If there are a bunch of scripted objects running in the sim, you will start to notice delays- for example, if you have a piece of furniture that displays a menu when you touch it, you might have to wait a few seconds for the menu to appear on a homestead sim with too many scripts running on it. I have tenants running clubs on their homesteads and have not gotten any performance-related complaints, so long as people were careful about what scripted items they placed on their sims. Also remember that many avatars wear huds and other attachments that run TONS of scripts, and all of these can affect your sim. Also, every once in a while you might end up sharing a server with some laggy "server neighbors." If you encounter lag on your homestead that doesn't seem related to anything you're doing on the island, sometimes a restart will help, because your sim will start up on another server, with different "neighbors."

Note that Linden Lab has discussed the possibility of imposing script limitations on homestead regions, but as of January 2009, no limitations had been implemented, and no other specifics were available.

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